The Essence of Sectarianism in Public Organizations: A Study in Afghanistan

Document Type : Research Paper


1 MSc., Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Administrative Sciences and Economy, Vali-e-Asr University, Rafsanjan, Iran.

2 Department of Management, Faculty of Administrative Sciences and Economy, Vali-e-Asr University, Rafsanjan, Iran.


Objective: Sectarianism in a workplace is a dysfunctional phenomenon that is disruptive in the process of organizational democracy. The purpose of this study is to discover the essence of this phenomenon in public organizations in Herat province of Afghanistan.
Methods: The research strategy was descriptive phenomenology and participants were 24 employees from 16 public organizations in Herat province of Afghanistan, selected through a typical sampling to theoretical saturation. Maxqda software was used to analyze the interviews.
Results: The findings of the study showed that the essence of sectarianism in the studied organizations include four categories of sectarian behavioral artifacts as organizing building blocks of this phenomenon: sectarian political behaviors, precedence of sectarian relationships to regulations, discrimination sectarian and leader-member sectarian exchange.
Conclusion: Organizational sectarian behaviors in the domain of research are sectarian political behaviors that are favorable for members of the sect, but to the detriment of public interests, which emerge as sectarian and gender-based discrimination. In this phenomenon, through the leader-member sectarian exchange, members of the sect are regarded by the management as in-group and the others as out-group persons, and thus the in-groups enjoy special interests over other members. For this reason, sectarian relationships are preferred over the regulations.


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